How green is your airline? AirAsia a standout.

March 04, 2021
An AirAsia Airbus A320

How green is your airline is an important question that OAG says it is helping to answer with Aer Lingus and AirAsia standout performers.

Its Data Science team is working on a series of projects combining an extensive network of data with predictive analytics and new technology to give some of the answers.

One important area is fleet data and fuel usage.

According to a paper authored by Becca Rowland OAG is taking an overview to see just how different fuel burn can be between airlines, which relates to the aircraft they use.

The analysis looks at three corridors for air travel, the Transatlantic, within Europe, and within South East Asia.

The data used is from September 2020 which it concedes is from a period when airlines were still mired in the problems associated with COVID-19, with limited demand for air travel, onerous restrictions on international travel, and domestic movement in many countries.

“In so many ways September 2020 can be considered atypical, and yet the airlines listed below were still flying, still carrying some passengers, and were making adjustments to their fleets and schedules to optimize performance,” OAG said.

“In grounding some of their aircraft, many airlines were shifting the balance of their operating fleet towards the newer and more fuel efficient aircraft in order to leverage the route performance metrics available to them.”

The analysis draws on Available Seat Kilometers (ASKs) operated by each airline and fuel use per ASK. Here is the trans-Atlantic comparison.

OAG said that the most fuel-efficient of these airlines are burning around half the amount of fuel per Available Seat Kilometre (ASK) as others.

The lower fuel consumption airlines used mostly Boeing 787s for the trans-Atlantic flights OAG found as per this graphic, which relates to the one above.

Within Southeast Asia, the performance differential is even greater, with more than three times the fuel burn per ASK for some airlines than others.

OAG said it should be recognized that “the use of wide-body aircraft by airlines such as Thai Airways, Philippine Airlines, and Singapore Airlines may not be a like-for-like comparison with the use of narrow-body aircraft by AirAsia and Thai AirAsia, but these numbers highlight the extent to which some airlines are not flying aircraft that are environmentally optimal for such sectors.”

It should also be noted that during the pandemic airlines such as Singapore Airlines have been using wide-body 787s and 777s to transport urgently needed cargo – not possible in smaller narrow-body jets such as the A320 or 737.